Ask Sam letter


To Sam

strange addiction

i've started this really weird addiction and i can't stop it! it is driving me crazy, the problem is that i keep picking all of my eyelashes/eyebrows out. i have tried stopping but it will not work! i can't tell anyone and i'm afraid that this might affect my eyebrows/eyelashes when i grow older. is there any advice you could give me?
                              many thanks

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for having the courage to share something that’s so important. I can see that you're trying to understand what makes you pick at your eyelashes and eyebrows and I know you are feeling really irritated that you are doing this.

I’m wondering if it is a habit or an addiction, as there is a difference. With a habit you are in control of your choices, but with an addiction you do not feel in control of your choices. 

This also sounds like a kind of self-harm so I’m wondering if you do it when you have tough feelings that you are trying to cope with. This could be the case for some people in a situation like this. You don't mention why you pick your eyelashes and eyebrows, so it might be helpful to think about when you first started doing this and whether something difficult was happening for you at the time. You might get a better understanding if you think about how you feel just before and just after doing it. 

If there are times when you suddenly realise you are picking without even thinking, then it might have become an addiction and paying more attention to when it happens could help. Please remember that different things will work well for different people and you may need to try more than one thing before you find something that works.

One idea might be to distract yourself by doing something else. It’s about finding a distraction that’s just right for you. Maybe you could draw, write, chat to a friend or do something else that you enjoy.

You can get support with learning more about self-harm or addiction by talking to a ChildLine counsellor. You can do that by ringing ChildLine on 0800 1111 (calls are free) or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor. A counsellor would go at your pace and help you explore what’s really going on for you. They can also help you with ways to distract yourself.

There’s also some really great information about why young people self-harm and ways to cope on the ChildLine Explore Section. Maybe you could check that out too. This part of the website is good because you can look at it when you feel like it and as many times as you want.

I do hope you might make contact, ChildLine counsellors love to support young people.

Take really good care.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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